TERROR OF THE SONTARANS (DOCTOR WHO)

PrintE-mail Written by Ryan Pollard

After receiving a distress call, the Seventh Doctor and his companion Mel arrive at an abandoned and derelict mining planet where not too long after their arrival, gets overrun by a Sontaran battle fleet that are searching for their missing research team.

As they begin to find the answers, strange occurrences start developing on the planet that are connected to a mysterious force that’s hiding from within its confines and attacking its prey’s minds.

Since their TV revival in 2008, the Sontarans, whilst still war-hungry brutes, became more comedic, and recently became absent as a result of Strax and his adventures with the Paternoster Gang. Here, we do see a return to the Sontarans of old and living up to their description of being ‘nasty, brutish and short’. Dan Starkey (who has also co-written this story with John Dorney) is to the Sontarans what Nicholas Briggs is to the Daleks and Cybermen; he understands the creatures inside and out, and here, he doesn’t make them sound identical to one another or make them sound like ‘new series’ Sontarans, instead going for the chillingly raspy voice once used by original actor Kevin Lindsay and there are definitely flashes of Lindsay in Starkey’s portrayal of the Sontarans.

Despite the title, the Sontarans aren’t the only major threat in the story, and whilst the new monster that’s introduced is unique, it still feels like you’ve seen the concept before somewhere else. The story itself does play out like the good Doctor Who stories of the eighties, and whilst it’s both entertaining and engaging, it’s not quite up there with the best of Big Finish’s work and it falls into the age-old Doctor Who problem of the resolution feeling rushed and a little flat. Sylvester McCoy still brings gravitas to proceedings and Bonnie Langford always engages despite not being given enough space for her to shine, while both Daniel O’ Meara and Andree Bernard are solid supporting players.

Terror of the Sontarans has a good mix of both the old and new, and offers a good demonstration why the Sontarans are as much a classic monster as the Daleks and the Cybermen. Even though it’s not quite spectacular, it’s an enjoyable ride and it provides the perfect way to close off the recent trilogy of adventures with the Seventh Doctor and Mel.

TERROR OF THE SONTARANS (DOCTOR WHO) / AUTHOR: JOHN DORNEY, DAN STARKEY / STARRING: SYLVESTER MCCOY, BONNIE LANGFORD, DAN STARKEY / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 30TH, OUT NOW DIRECT

 


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